‘New to Me’ Books

I had a good time at Barter Books in Alnwick yesterday. Bartering books is a good way to recycle the books I’m not going to read again. I took in a box of books and came home with these. As I had built up a nice little sum over my last few visits, I was able to indulge myself!

Crime fiction

As you can see I was looking out for crime fiction and found three Agatha Christie’s I haven’t read:

  1. The Labours of Hercules – Poirot undertakes twelve cases before he retires to grow superior vegetable marrows.
  2. N or M? – a Tommy and Tuppence wartime mission.
  3. One, Two, Buckle My Shoe – Poirot investigates the death of his dentist.

I also got another Wycliffe book by W J Burley – Wycliffe and the Cycle of Death, in which he investigates the murder of a bookseller.

And another Perry Mason book by Erle Stanley Gardner- The Case of the Howling Dog – according to superstition a howling dog means a death in the neighbourhood, then both the dog and his owner are killed.

I’ve read one of H R F Keating’s books before but none of his Inspector Ghote’s books – this one caught my eye, Inspector Ghote’s Good Crusade, in which a millionaire philanthropist, the founder of a Bombay home for vagrants is murdered.

I’ve never read any of Sue Grafton’s books but have read reviews of a few, so I was pleased to find the first of her A-Z series – A is for Alibi. Kinsey Malone, Private Investigator has a cold case, hired by Nikki Fife, convicted of the murder of her husband eight years earlier, to find the real killer. If I like these there are plenty more in the series to look out for – and yesterday Barter Books had a shelf-full.

As I still had credit left I splashed out and bought two rather more expensive hardback books on crime fiction, which are at the bottom of the pile in my photo:

  1. The Great Detectives by Julian Symons, fictional ‘biographies’ of seven detectives, including Sherlock Holmes in retirement! I’ve been watching the fantastic TV series Sherlock, so my interest is very high right now.
  2. Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection by Chris Steinbrunner and Otto Penzler. I’m really excited by this book, even though it’s over 30 years since it was published. It’s a big, heavy volume which I’m sure is an excellent reference book, containing biographies and bibliographies of crime writers and articles on films, plays radio and TV series and so on. I’ll be dipping into it regularly.

And because I do like to read other books than crime fiction I also got these two books:

How to draw anything

I’ve been attempting to draw and paint and this book, How to Draw Anything by Angela Gair makes it look easy, which of course it isn’t. But I’m hoping it will help me improve.

A Still Life Byatt

I looked briefly at the many bookcases of general fiction and was drawn (pun not intended!) to Still Life by A S Byatt. Maybe my mind was still on art but this book certainly caught my eye. It’s a novel set in the 1950s. The cover is Still Life with Coffeepot by Vincent Van Gogh.

13 thoughts on “‘New to Me’ Books

  1. Very nice, Margaret. It’s been a long time since I thought about reading a Perry Mason book. I did some of that in my teens. Sue Grafton is an author that I’ve wanted to like and have read A and B, I think. However, I just never quite took to her Kinsey character. Hope you enjoy!


  2. I read a lot and enjoy crime novels particularly – just wanted to say that I think the Sue Grafton novels are really enjoyable – I have liked all of them and in the later ones the plots have become even more interesting and complex. It would be good to read them in order if you like A as the relationships between the characters while not overwhelming, do develop through the series


  3. I’ve read some of these, too long ago to remember 😉 (But I think N or M is not one of Christie’s best?). I like the Sue Grafton series – she started it in the 1980s and her time goes slower than real time, so although the latest is V so many years later, Kinsey (the PI) is still in the 1980s which adds a nice touch. They are “classic” PI novels of the Raymond Chandler mode and though some are better than others, very good overall.


  4. I’d like to read lots more Agatha Christie. I’ve only read two of her books and that was many years ago. As an experienced reader of Christie, do you think I should try to read them in chronological order?


    • Pam, I’m not reading her books in chronological order. If you want to see how Agatha Christie’s writing evolved then you could, but as she wrote so many books I haven’t tried.


  5. Hi Margaret – lovely haul of mysteries! I’ve read most of the Sue Grafton mysteries – I really like the character of Kinsey Milhone, and enjoy the books tremendously. I read N or M many years ago – it’s one of my favourites with Tommy and Tuppence. I have By the Pricking of my Thumbs to read on my shelf, a reread.

    Good luck with the drawing. I can’t draw at all, although I have heard it said that anyone can learn to draw. They haven’t met me yet….lol


  6. Hello Margaret, Did you know that “Still Life” is the second of a series of 4 books, the first is ” The Virgin in the Garden”. I am a big fan of AS Byatt, I learn so much vocabulary when reading her work. She colors my life in winter. I hope that you will review the book on drawing anything and show us examples of what you come up with. I really enjoyed seeing your previous watercolors. Seems like your new books are going to keep you occupied for a while. Happy reading.


    • No, Roxane, I hadn’t realised it was part of a series until I read on the back cover that it’s the sequel to ‘The Virgin in the Garden’, which I haven’t read! I’ve read a few of her books, which I have liked, but still have to get round to reading ‘The Children’s Book’ – have you read that?

      I may post some of my drawings – if they’re not too terrible!


  7. A lovely load of books and you are so lucky to live near such a place.

    I have been enthralled by Sherlock, and have read one of the short stories related to the TV programme. I must make time for more this year.


  8. I’ve never read Sue Grafton either. I suppose with this series, it really benefits starting at ‘A’… Heard good things about her though.


  9. Some nice finds there. Barter Books sounds like a store I could get lost in. I used to read a lot of Perry Mason but I haven’t seen those books around much anymore. I started the alphabet series in the middle but I picked up the first few books at a library sale so I’m going to go back and read those before continuing on.


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